Weekly Market Recap – January 22, 2021
In the Markets
The four-day week was eventful, yet light on economic statistics. On Wednesday, Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated as President and Vice President of the United States. The pandemic continues to worsen, as measured by confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths. US deaths from COVID-19 have topped 400,000, surpassing the US military death count in World War II. The UK variant has been detected in 22 states. Initial jobless claims were 900,000 compared with 926,000 the prior week. Housing starts for December were 1.669 million vs. November’s 1.547 million (+7.9%). December’s existing home sales totaled 6.76 million, 0.75% higher than the 6.71 million sales reported for November.
Equities indices continued to nudge into new high territory. The four benchmarks we cover in our recap made new all-time highs during the week, with two of them closing at record highs. The Russell 2000 settled on Friday at the new record of 173.61, which was up 3.63 (+2.1%) for the week. NASDAQ’s Composite index staged its new record high on Friday with its 544.56 up move (+4.2%) to a 13,543.06 final mark. The others performed as follows: The DJIA rose 182.72 (+0.6%), printing 30,996.98 at week’s end. A 73.22 rise in the S&P 500 (+1.9%) took it to a 3,841.47 settlement. Volatility in equities eased again, as the CBOE VIX finished at 21.91 after sliding 2.43 (-10.0%). In the currency market, the dollar decreased, as the spot US Dollar Index ended at 90.21, having declined 0.57 (-0.6%). S&P’s commodity index (GSCI) retreated 4.34 (-1.0%), closing at 427.40 for the week.
Metal markets were flat to slightly higher, as the gold futures price added $26.30 (+1.4%), ending at $1,856.20 per troy ounce. Silver rose $0.690 (+2.8%) to its $25.556 settlement price. Platinum and palladium diverged a bit; the former advanced $21.70 (+2.0%) to its $1,111.60 close, while the latter declined to $2,365.20 (-1.2%) with a loss of $29.90 for March delivery. The base metals that we track in this report inched higher. Copper gained 2.4¢ (+0.7%) to close at $3.6260 per pound, while LME aluminum for 3-month delivery went up only $3.50 dollars per ton, ending at $1,994.50 (+0.2%).
In the energy markets, the petroleum complex had no conspicuous movement, however, the natural gas 29.1¢ selloff tipped into double-digit percentage zone by dropping 10.0%. It settled at $2.446 per MMBtu, the lowest end-of-week close for the February contract. The drop was a reaction to weather forecasts for early to mid-February, indicating higher than normal temperatures. Crude prices firmed a bit, with NYMEX WTI rising 88¢ (+1.7%) to a final $53.24, while IPE Brent’s 31¢ gain (+0.6%) firmed it to $55.51 per barrel. Refined products hardly moved, but the warmer outlook widened the spread between heating oil and gasoline. February ULSD lost 1.60¢ (-1.0%) to close at $1.5782 per gallon, while RBOB gasoline squeaked higher by 1.73¢, settling at $1.5450 (+1.1%).
Of the nine agricultural markets that we review, price direction was mixed with five down and four up. The most active ag products, the workhorses of the CBOT, all took a hit. On the charts, soybeans, corn, and wheat all appeared to fall out of their uptrends. In percentage terms, soybeans fared the worst. The March contract plunged 7.4% with a $1.05 crash to $13.11¾ per bushel. Corn gave back 31¢ (-5.8%) to its $5.50½ settlement, and wheat prices fell to $6.34½, suffering a 41¢ drop (-6.1%). Coffee pulled back 4.10 points (-3.2%), with the March ICE futures ending the week at $1.2405 per pound. Sugar lost 0.58 (-3.5%), settling at 15.87¢/lb. The rest of this sector’s markets were gainers. Cocoa moved up, but only by two ticks (+0.08%) to $2.529 $2,506 per metric ton. Once more, cotton made a new high for the year, adding 0.86 points (+1.1%), as the March contract closed at 81.56¢ per pound. In the livestock markets, hogs rose 2.005 (+3.0%) to 69.925, while cattle futures rallied 3.955 (+3.5%) closing at 116.725 at week’s end, the highest Friday close in eleven months (120.00 on February 21, 2020).
World Cup Trading Championships®
In the futures division of the 2020-2021 Global Cup Trading Championship, Jan Smolen finished the week in 1st with a net return of 198.8%. Stefan Seibert finished the week in 2nd with a 163% net return. 3rd place is currently held by M. Vontobel of Tirutrade AG with a net return of 79.8%. Adrian Koemel and Maxim Schultz finished the week in 4th and 5th with 76.2% and 51.23% net returns respectively.
In the 2020 World Cup Trading Championships® Futures division, Stefan Seibert finished in 1st with a 342.3% net return. Brent Carlile took 2nd with a net return of 287.9%. Yuwen Cao took 3rd with a net return of 262.9%. Michael O’Keeffe and Evgeny Kartashov rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 249% and 165.8% respectively. (Final Pending Audit)
In the 2020 World Cup Trading Championships® Forex division, Jan Smolen finished in 1st with a 113.9% net return. Scott Welsh took 2nd with a 78.7% net return, followed by Sergey Shirko taking 3rd with a net return of 61.8%. Irwan Ariston and Oliver Bjoerklund rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 51% and 19.7% respectively. (Final Pending Audit)
Trading futures and forex involves significant risk of loss and is not suitable for everyone. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. World Cup Championship (WCC ) accounts do not necessarily represent all the trading accounts controlled by a given competitor. WCC competitors may control accounts that produce results substantially different than the results achieved in their WCC accounts. WCC entrants may trade more than one account in the competition. CME Group is the trademark of CME Group, Inc. The Globe logo is a trademark of Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Inc.